Summa Th. II-II EN Qu.25 a.7
Objection: 1. It would seem that sinners love themselves. For that which is the principle of sin, is most of all in the sinner. Now love of self is the principle of sin, since Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xiv, 28) that it "builds up the city of Babylon." Therefore sinners most of all love themselves.
2. Further, sin does not destroy nature. Now it is in keeping with nature that every man should love himself: wherefore even irrational creatures naturally desire their own good, for instance, the preservation of their being, and so forth. Therefore sinners love themselves.
3. Further, good is beloved by all, as Dionysius states (Div. Nom. iv). Now many sinners reckon themselves to be good. Therefore many sinners love themselves.
On the contrary It is written (Ps 10,6): "He that loveth iniquity, hateth his own soul."
I answer that Love of self is common to all, in one way; in another way it is proper to the good; in a third way, it is proper to the wicked. For it is common to all for each one to love what he thinks himself to be. Now a man is said to be a thing, in two ways: first, in respect of his substance and nature, and, this way all think themselves to be what they are, that is, composed of a soul and body. In this way too, all men, both good and wicked, love themselves, in so far as they love their own preservation.Secondly, a man is said to be something in respect of some predominance, as the sovereign of a state is spoken of as being the state, and so, what the sovereign does, the state is said to do. In this way, all do not think themselves to be what they are. For the reasoning mind is the predominant part of man, while the sensitive and corporeal nature takes the second place, the former of which the Apostle calls the "inward man," and the latter, the "outward man" (2Co 4,16). Now the good look upon their rational nature or the inward man as being the chief thing in them, wherefore in this way they think themselves to be what they are. On the other hand, the wicked reckon their sensitive and corporeal nature, or the outward man, to hold the first place. Wherefore, since they know not themselves aright, they do not love themselves aright, but love what they think themselves to be. But the good know themselves truly, and therefore truly love themselves.The Philosopher proves this from five things that are proper to friendship. For in the first place, every friend wishes his friend to be and to live; secondly, he desires good things for him; thirdly, he does good things to him; fourthly, he takes pleasure in his company; fifthly, he is of one mind with him, rejoicing and sorrowing in almost the same things. In this way the good love themselves, as to the inward man, because they wish the preservation thereof in its integrity, they desire good things for him, namely spiritual goods, indeed they do their best to obtain them, and they take pleasure in entering into their own hearts, because they find there good thoughts in the present, the memory of past good, and the hope of future good, all of which are sources of pleasure. Likewise they experience no clashing of wills, since their whole soul tends to one thing.On the other hand, the wicked have no wish to be preserved in the integrity of the inward man, nor do they desire spiritual goods for him, nor do they work for that end, nor do they take pleasure in their own company by entering into their own hearts, because whatever they find there, present, past and future, is evil and horrible; nor do they agree with themselves, on account of the gnawings of conscience, according to Ps 49,21: "I will reprove thee and set before thy face."In the same manner it may be shown that the wicked love themselves, as regards the corruption of the outward man, whereas the good do not love themselves thus.
Reply to Objection: 1. The love of self which is the principle of sin is that which is proper to the wicked, and reaches "to the contempt of God," as stated in the passage quoted, because the wicked so desire external goods as to despise spiritual goods.
2. Although natural love is not altogether forfeited by wicked men, yet it is perverted in them, as explained above.
3. The wicked have some share of self-love, in so far as they think themselves good. Yet such love of self is not true but apparent: and even this is not possible in those who are very wicked.
Objection: 1. It would seem that charity does not require us to love our enemies. For Augustine says (Enchiridion lxxiii) that "this great good," namely, the love of our enemies, is "not so universal in its application, as the object of our petition when we say: Forgive us our trespasses." Now no one is forgiven sin without he have charity, because, according to Pr 10,12, "charity covereth all sins." Therefore charity does not require that we should love our enemies.
2. Further, charity does not do away with nature. Now everything, even an irrational being, naturally hates its contrary, as a lamb hates a wolf, and water fire. Therefore charity does not make us love our enemies.
3. Further, charity "doth nothing perversely" (1Co 13,4). Now it seems perverse to love one's enemies, as it would be to hate one's friends: hence Joab upbraided David by saying (2S 19,6): "Thou lovest them that hate thee, and thou hatest them that love thee." Therefore charity does not make us love our enemies.
On the contrary Our Lord said (Mt 4,44): "Love your enemies."
I answer that Love of one's enemies may be understood in three ways. First, as though we were to love our enemies as such: this is perverse, and contrary to charity, since it implies love of that which is evil in another.Secondly love of one's enemies may mean that we love them as to their nature, but in general: and in this sense charity requires that we should love our enemies, namely, that in loving God and our neighbor, we should not exclude our enemies from the love given to our neighbor in general.Thirdly, love of one's enemies may be considered as specially directed to them, namely, that we should have a special movement of love towards our enemies. Charity does not require this absolutely, because it does not require that we should have a special movement of love to every individual man, since this would be impossible. Nevertheless charity does require this, in respect of our being prepared in mind, namely, that we should be ready to love our enemies individually, if the necessity were to occur. That man should actually do so, and love his enemy for God's sake, without it being necessary for him to do so, belongs to the perfection of charity. For since man loves his neighbor, out of charity, for God's sake, the more he loves God, the more does he put enmities aside and show love towards his neighbor: thus if we loved a certain man very much, we would love his children though they were unfriendly towards us.
Reply to Objection: 1. This is the sense in which Augustine speaks in the passage quoted in the First Objection, the Reply to which is therefore evident.
2. Everything naturally hates its contrary as such. Now our enemies are contrary to us, as enemies, wherefore this itself should be hateful to us, for their enmity should displease us. They are not, however, contrary to us, as men and capable of happiness: and it is as such that we are bound to love them.
3. It is wrong to love one's enemies as such: charity does not do this, as stated above.
Objection: 1. It would seem that charity demands of a man to show his enemy the signs or effects of love. For it is written (1Jn 3,18): "Let us not love in word nor in tongue, but in deed and in truth." Now a man loves in deed by showing the one he loves signs and effects of love. Therefore charity requires that a man show his enemies such signs and effects of love.
2. Further, Our Lord said in the same breath (Mt 5,44): "Love your enemies," and, "Do good to them that hate you." Now charity demands that we love our enemies. Therefore it demands also that we should "do good to them."
3. Further, not only God but also our neighbor is the object of charity. Now Gregory says in a homily for Pentecost (In Evang. xxx), that "love of God cannot be idle for wherever it is it does great things, and if it ceases to work, it is no longer love." Hence charity towards our neighbor cannot be without producing works. But charity requires us to love our neighbor without exception, though he be an enemy. Therefore charity requires us to show the signs and effects of love towards our enemies.
On the contrary A gloss on Mt 5,44, "Do good to them that hate you," says: "To do good to one's enemies is the height of perfection" [*Augustine, Enchiridion lxxiii]. Now charity does not require us to do that which belongs to its perfection. Therefore charity does not require us to show the signs and effects of love to our enemies.
I answer that The effects and signs of charity are the result of inward love, and are in proportion with it. Now it is absolutely necessary, for the fulfilment of the precept, that we should inwardly love our enemies in general, but not individually, except as regards the mind being prepared to do so, as explained above (Article ).We must accordingly apply this to the showing of the effects and signs of love. For some of the signs and favors of love are shown to our neighbors in general, as when we pray for all the faithful, or for a whole people, or when anyone bestows a favor on a whole community: and the fulfilment of the precept requires that we should show such like favors or signs of love towards our enemies. For if we did not so, it would be a proof of vengeful spite, and contrary to what is written (Lv 19,18): "Seek not revenge, nor be mindful of the injury of thy citizens." But there are other favors or signs of love, which one shows to certain persons in particular: and it is not necessary for salvation that we show our enemies such like favors and signs of love, except as regards being ready in our minds, for instance to come to their assistance in a case of urgency, according to Pr 25,21: "If thy enemy be hungry, give him to eat; if he thirst, give him . . . drink." Outside cases of urgency, to show such like favors to an enemy belongs to the perfection of charity, whereby we not only beware, as in duty bound, of being overcome by evil, but also wish to overcome evil by good [*Rm 12,21], which belongs to perfection: for then we not only beware of being drawn into hatred on account of the hurt done to us, but purpose to induce our enemy to love us on account of our kindliness.
Reply to Objection: 1. This suffices for the Replies to the Objections.
Objection: 1. It would seem that we are not bound to love the angels out of charity. For, as Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. i), charity is a twofold love: the love of God and of our neighbor. Now love of the angels is not contained in the love of God, since they are created substances; nor is it, seemingly, contained in the love of our neighbor, since they do not belong with us to a common species. Therefore we are not bound to love them out of charity.
2. Further, dumb animals have more in common with us than the angels have, since they belong to the same proximate genus as we do. But we have not charity towards dumb animals, as stated above (Article ). Neither, therefore, have we towards the angels.
3. Further, nothing is so proper to friends as companionship with one another (Ethic. viii, 5). But the angels are not our companions; we cannot even see them. Therefore we are unable to give them the friendship of charity.
On the contrary Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. i, 30): "If the name of neighbor is given either to those whom we pity, or to those who pity us, it is evident that the precept binding us to love our neighbor includes also the holy angels from whom we receive many merciful favors."
I answer that As stated above (Question , Article ), the friendship of charity is founded upon the fellowship of everlasting happiness, in which men share in common with the angels. For it is written (Mt 22,30) that "in the resurrection . . . men shall be as the angels of God in heaven." It is therefore evident that the friendship of charity extends also to the angels.
Reply to Objection: 1. Our neighbor is not only one who is united to us in a common species, but also one who is united to us by sharing in the blessings pertaining to everlasting life, and it is on the latter fellowship that the friendship of charity is founded.
2. Dumb animals are united to us in the proximate genus, by reason of their sensitive nature; whereas we are partakers of everlasting happiness, by reason not of our sensitive nature but of our rational mind wherein we associate with the angels.
3. The companionship of the angels does not consist in outward fellowship, which we have in respect of our sensitive nature; it consists in a fellowship of the mind, imperfect indeed in this life, but perfect in heaven, as stated above (Question , Article , ad 1).
Objection: 1. It would seem that we ought to love the demons out of charity. For the angels are our neighbors by reason of their fellowship with us in a rational mind. But the demons also share in our fellowship thus, since natural gifts, such as life and understanding, remain in them unimpaired, as Dionysius states (Div. Nom. iv). Therefore we ought to love the demons out of charity.
2. Further, the demons differ from the blessed angels in the matter of sin, even as sinners from just men. Now the just man loves the sinner out of charity. Therefore he ought to love the demons also out of charity.
3. Further, we ought, out of charity, to love, as being our neighbors, those from whom we receive favors, as appears from the passage of Augustine quoted above (Article ). Now the demons are useful to us in many things, for "by tempting us they work crowns for us," as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xi, 17). Therefore we ought to love the demons out of charity.
On the contrary It is written (Is 28,18): "Your league with death shall be abolished, and your covenant with hell shall not stand." Now the perfection of a peace and covenant is through charity. Therefore we ought not to have charity for the demons who live in hell and compass death.
I answer that As stated above (Article ), in the sinner, we are bound, out of charity, to love his nature, but to hate his sin. But the name of demon is given to designate a nature deformed by sin, wherefore demons should not be loved out of charity. Without however laying stress on the word, the question as to whether the spirits called demons ought to be loved out of charity, must be answered in accordance with the statement made above (Articles ,3), that a thing may be loved out of charity in two ways. First, a thing may be loved as the person who is the object of friendship, and thus we cannot have the friendship of charity towards the demons. For it is an essential part of friendship that one should be a well-wisher towards one's friend; and it is impossible for us, out of charity, to desire the good of everlasting life, to which charity is referred, for those spirits whom God has condemned eternally, since this would be in opposition to our charity towards God whereby we approve of His justice.Secondly, we love a thing as being that which we desire to be enduring as another's good. In this way we love irrational creatures out of charity, in as much as we wish them to endure, to give glory to God and be useful to man, as stated above (Article ): and in this way too we can love the nature of the demons even out of charity, in as much as we desire those spirits to endure, as to their natural gifts, unto God's glory.
Reply to Objection: 1. The possession of everlasting happiness is not impossible for the angelic mind as it is for the mind of a demon; consequently the friendship of charity which is based on the fellowship of everlasting life, rather than on the fellowship of nature, is possible towards the angels, but not towards the demons.
2. In this life, men who are in sin retain the possibility of obtaining everlasting happiness: not so those who are lost in hell, who, in this respect, are in the same case as the demons.
3. That the demons are useful to us is due not to their intention but to the ordering of Divine providence; hence this leads us to be friends, not with them, but with God, Who turns their perverse intention to our profit.
Objection: 1. It would seem that these four things are not rightly reckoned as to be loved out of charity, to wit: God, our neighbor, our body, and ourselves. For, as Augustine states (Tract. super Joan. lxxxiii), "he that loveth not God, loveth not himself." Hence love of oneself is included in the love of God. Therefore love of oneself is not distinct from the love of God.
2. Further, a part ought not to be condivided with the whole. But our body is part of ourselves. Therefore it ought not to be condivided with ourselves as a distinct object of love.
3. Further, just as a man has a body, so has his neighbor. Since then the love with which a man loves his neighbor, is distinct from the love with which a man loves himself, so the love with which a man loves his neighbor's body, ought to be distinct from the love with which he loves his own body. Therefore these four things are not rightly distinguished as objects to be loved out of charity.
On the contrary Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. i, 23): "There are four things to be loved; one which is above us," namely God, "another, which is ourselves, a third which is nigh to us," namely our neighbor, "and a fourth which is beneath us," namely our own body.
I answer that As stated above (Question , Articles ,5), the friendship of charity is based on the fellowship of happiness. Now, in this fellowship, one thing is considered as the principle from which happiness flows, namely God; a second is that which directly partakes of happiness, namely men and angels; a third is a thing to which happiness comes by a kind of overflow, namely the human body.Now the source from which happiness flows is lovable by reason of its being the cause of happiness: that which is a partaker of happiness, can be an object of love for two reasons, either through being identified with ourselves, or through being associated with us in partaking of happiness, and in this respect, there are two things to be loved out of charity, in as much as man loves both himself and his neighbor.
Reply to Objection: 1. The different relations between a lover and the various things loved make a different kind of lovableness. Accordingly, since the relation between the human lover and God is different from his relation to himself, these two are reckoned as distinct objects of love, for the love of the one is the cause of the love of the other, so that the former love being removed the latter is taken away.
2. The subject of charity is the rational mind that can be capable of obtaining happiness, to which the body does not reach directly, but only by a kind of overflow. Hence, by his reasonable mind which holds the first place in him, man, out of charity, loves himself in one way, and his own body in another.
3. Man loves his neighbor, both as to his soul and as to his body, by reason of a certain fellowship in happiness. Wherefore, on the part of his neighbor, there is only one reason for loving him; and our neighbor's body is not reckoned as a special object of love.
We must now consider the order of charity, under which head there are thirteen points of inquiry:
(1) Whether there is an order in charity?
(2) Whether man ought to love God more than his neighbor?
(3) Whether more than himself?
(4) Whether he ought to love himself more than his neighbor?
(5) Whether man ought to love his neighbor more than his own body?
(6) Whether he ought to love one neighbor more than another?
(7) Whether he ought to love more, a neighbor who is better, or one who is more closely united to him?
(8) Whether he ought to love more, one who is akin to him by blood, or one who is united to him by other ties?
(9) Whether, out of charity, a man ought to love his son more than his father ?
(10) Whether he ought to love his mother more than his father?
(11) Whether he ought to love his wife more than his father or mother?
(12) Whether we ought to love those who are kind to us more than those whom we are kind to?
(13) Whether the order of charity endures in heaven?
Objection: 1. It would seem that there is no order in charity. For charity is a virtue. But no order is assigned to the other virtues. Neither, therefore, should any order be assigned to charity.
2. Further, just as the object of faith is the First Truth, so is the object of charity the Sovereign Good. Now no order is appointed for faith, but all things are believed equally. Neither, therefore, ought there to be any order in charity.
3. Further, charity is in the will: whereas ordering belongs, not to the will, but to the reason. Therefore no order should be ascribed to charity.
On the contrary It is written (Ct 2,4): "He brought me into the cellar of wine, he set in order charity in me."
I answer that As the Philosopher says (Metaph. v, text. 16), the terms "before" and "after" are used in reference to some principle. Now order implies that certain things are, in some way, before or after. Hence wherever there is a principle, there must needs be also order of some kind. But it has been said above (Question , Article ; Question , Article ) that the love of charity tends to God as to the principle of happiness, on the fellowship of which the friendship of charity is based. Consequently there must needs be some order in things loved out of charity, which order is in reference to the first principle of that love, which is God.
Reply to Objection: 1. Charity tends towards the last end considered as last end: and this does not apply to any other virtue, as stated above (Question , Article ). Now the end has the character of principle in matters of appetite and action, as was shown above (Question , Article , ad 2; FS, Article , ad 1). Wherefore charity, above all, implies relation to the First Principle, and consequently, in charity above all, we find an order in reference to the First Principle.
2. Faith pertains to the cognitive power, whose operation depends on the thing known being in the knower. On the other hand, charity is in an appetitive power, whose operation consists in the soul tending to things themselves. Now order is to be found in things themselves, and flows from them into our knowledge. Hence order is more appropriate to charity than to faith.And yet there is a certain order in faith, in so far as it is chiefly about God, and secondarily about things referred to God.
3. Order belongs to reason as the faculty that orders, and to the appetitive power as to the faculty which is ordered. It is in this way that order is stated to be in charity.
Objection: 1. It would seem that God ought not to be loved more than our neighbor. For it is written (1Jn 4,20): "He that loveth not his brother whom he seeth, how can he love God, Whom he seeth not?" Whence it seems to follow that the more a thing is visible the more lovable it is, since loving begins with seeing, according to Ethic. ix, 5,12. Now God is less visible than our neighbor. Therefore He is less lovable, out of charity, than our neighbor.
2. Further, likeness causes love, according to Si 13,19: "Every beast loveth its like." Now man bears more likeness to his neighbor than to God. Therefore man loves his neighbor, out of charity, more than he loves God.
3. Further, what charity loves in a neighbor, is God, according to Augustine (De Doctr. Christ. i, 22,27). Now God is not greater in Himself than He is in our neighbor. Therefore He is not more to be loved in Himself than in our neighbor. Therefore we ought not to love God more than our neighbor.
On the contrary A thing ought to be loved more, if others ought to be hated on its account. Now we ought to hate our neighbor for God's sake, if, to wit, he leads us astray from God, according to Lc 14,26: "If any man come to Me and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, end children, and brethren, and sisters . . . he cannot be My disciple." Therefore we ought to love God, out of charity, more than our neighbor.
I answer that Each kind of friendship regards chiefly the subject in which we chiefly find the good on the fellowship of which that friendship is based: thus civil friendship regards chiefly the ruler of the state, on whom the entire common good of the state depends; hence to him before all, the citizens owe fidelity and obedience. Now the friendship of charity is based on the fellowship of happiness, which consists essentially in God, as the First Principle, whence it flows to all who are capable of happiness.Therefore God ought to be loved chiefly and before all out of charity: for He is loved as the cause of happiness, whereas our neighbor is loved as receiving together with us a share of happiness from Him.
Reply to Objection: 1. A thing is a cause of love in two ways: first, as being the reason for loving. In this way good is the cause of love, since each thing is loved according to its measure of goodness. Secondly, a thing causes love, as being a way to acquire love. It is in this way that seeing is the cause of loving, not as though a thing were lovable according as it is visible, but because by seeing a thing we are led to love it. Hence it does not follow that what is more visible is more lovable, but that as an object of love we meet with it before others: and that is the sense of the Apostle's argument. For, since our neighbor is more visible to us, he is the first lovable object we meet with, because "the soul learns, from those things it knows, to love what it knows not," as Gregory says in a homily (In Evang. xi). Hence it can be argued that, if any man loves not his neighbor, neither does he love God, not because his neighbor is more lovable, but because he is the first thing to demand our love: and God is more lovable by reason of His greater goodness.
2. The likeness we have to God precedes and causes the likeness we have to our neighbor: because from the very fact that we share along with our neighbor in something received from God, we become like to our neighbor. Hence by reason of this likeness we ought to love God more than we love our neighbor.
3. Considered in His substance, God is equally in all, in whomsoever He may be, for He is not lessened by being in anything. And yet our neighbor does not possess God's goodness equally with God, for God has it essentially, and our neighbor by participation.
Objection: 1. It would seem that man is not bound, out of charity, to love God more than himself. For the Philosopher says (Ethic. ix, 8) that "a man's friendly relations with others arise from his friendly relations with himself." Now the cause is stronger than its effect. Therefore man's friendship towards himself is greater than his friendship for anyone else. Therefore he ought to love himself more than God.
2. Further, one loves a thing in so far as it is one's own good. Now the reason for loving a thing is more loved than the thing itself which is loved for that reason, even as the principles which are the reason for knowing a thing are more known. Therefore man loves himself more than any other good loved by him. Therefore he does not love God more than himself.
3. Further, a man loves God as much as he loves to enjoy God. But a man loves himself as much as he loves to enjoy God; since this is the highest good a man can wish for himself. Therefore man is not bound, out of charity, to love God more than himself.
On the contrary Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. i, 22): "If thou oughtest to love thyself, not for thy own sake, but for the sake of Him in Whom is the rightest end of thy love, let no other man take offense if him also thou lovest for God's sake." Now "the cause of a thing being such is yet more so." Therefore man ought to love God more than himself.
I answer that The good we receive from God is twofold, the good of nature, and the good of grace. Now the fellowship of natural goods bestowed on us by God is the foundation of natural love, in virtue of which not only man, so long as his nature remains unimpaired, loves God above all things and more than himself, but also every single creature, each in its own way, i.e. either by an intellectual, or by a rational, or by an animal, or at least by a natural love, as stones do, for instance, and other things bereft of knowledge, because each part naturally loves the common good of the whole more than its own particular good. This is evidenced by its operation, since the principal inclination of each part is towards common action conducive to the good of the whole. It may also be seen in civic virtues whereby sometimes the citizens suffer damage even to their own property and persons for the sake of the common good. Wherefore much more is this realized with regard to the friendship of charity which is based on the fellowship of the gifts of grace.Therefore man ought, out of charity, to love God, Who is the common good of all, more than himself: since happiness is in God as in the universal and fountain principle of all who are able to have a share of that happiness.
Reply to Objection: 1. The Philosopher is speaking of friendly relations towards another person in whom the good, which is the object of friendship, resides in some restricted way; and not of friendly relations with another in whom the aforesaid good resides in totality.
2. The part does indeed love the good of the whole, as becomes a part, not however so as to refer the good of the whole to itself, but rather itself to the good of the whole.
3.That a man wishes to enjoy God pertains to that love of God which is love of concupiscence. Now we love God with the love of friendship more than with the love of concupiscence, because the Divine good is greater in itself, than our share of good in enjoying Him. Hence, out of charity, man simply loves God more than himself.
Objection: 1. It would seem that a man ought not, out of charity, to love himself more than his neighbor. For the principal object of charity is God, as stated above (Article ; Question , Articles ,12). Now sometimes our neighbor is more closely united to God than we are ourselves. Therefore we ought to love such a one more than ourselves.
2. Further, the more we love a person, the more we avoid injuring him. Now a man, out of charity, submits to injury for his neighbor's sake, according to Pr 12,26: "He that neglecteth a loss for the sake of a friend, is just." Therefore a man ought, out of charity, to love his neighbor more than himself.
3. Further, it is written (1Co 13,5) "charity seeketh not its own." Now the thing we love most is the one whose good we seek most. Therefore a man does not, out of charity, love himself more than his neighbor.
On the contrary It is written (Lv 19,18, Mt 22,39): "Thou shalt love thy neighbor (Lv 19,18, 'friend') as thyself." Whence it seems to follow that man's love for himself is the model of his love for another. But the model exceeds the copy. Therefore, out of charity, a man ought to love himself more than his neighbor.
I answer that There are two things in man, his spiritual nature and his corporeal nature. And a man is said to love himself by reason of his loving himself with regard to his spiritual nature, as stated above (Question , Article ): so that accordingly, a man ought, out of charity, to love himself more than he loves any other person.This is evident from the very reason for loving: since, as stated above (Question , Articles ,12), God is loved as the principle of good, on which the love of charity is founded; while man, out of charity, loves himself by reason of his being a partaker of the aforesaid good, and loves his neighbor by reason of his fellowship in that good. Now fellowship is a reason for love according to a certain union in relation to God. Wherefore just as unity surpasses union, the fact that man himself has a share of the Divine good, is a more potent reason for loving than that another should be a partner with him in that share. Therefore man, out of charity, ought to love himself more than his neighbor: in sign whereof, a man ought not to give way to any evil of sin, which counteracts his share of happiness, not even that he may free his neighbor from sin.
Reply to Objection: 1. The love of charity takes its quantity not only from its object which is God, but also from the lover, who is the man that has charity, even as the quantity of any action depends in some way on the subject. Wherefore, though a better neighbor is nearer to God, yet because he is not as near to the man who has charity, as this man is to himself, it does not follow that a man is bound to love his neighbor more than himself.
2. A man ought to bear bodily injury for his friend's sake, and precisely in so doing he loves himself more as regards his spiritual mind, because it pertains to the perfection of virtue, which is a good of the mind. In spiritual matters, however, man ought not to suffer injury by sinning, in order to free his neighbor from sin, as stated above.
3. As Augustine says in his Rule (Ep. ccxi), the saying, "'charity seeks not her own,' means that it prefers the common to the private good." Now the common good is always more lovable to the individual than his private good, even as the good of the whole is more lovable to the part, than the latter's own partial good, as stated above (Article ).
Summa Th. II-II EN Qu.25 a.7